Intermountain IYA

COMING FULL CIRCLE WITH OLD HANDS AND NEW ENTHUSIASM 

The Intermountain Iyengar Yoga Association (IMIYA) was founded in 1992 by a handful of Iyengar Yoga teachers, most based in Denver, as the regional association for the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. There were also members from Kansas. Under its first officers, Linda Clark, president (Introductory II, Navajo Dam, NM), Claudia Kuhns, vice president (Intermediate Junior I, Denver, CO), Laura Allard Antelmi, treasurer (Intermediate Junior III, Boulder, CO), and Leslie Bradley, secretary (Intermediate III, Lakewood, CO), the association established a basic website that listed studios and upcoming workshops and included some articles on Iyengar Yoga. 

Later, Leslie served as president and vice president, along with Craig Kurtz (Intermediate Junior III, Denver, CO), Jeanne Ann Walter (Introductory II, Denver, CO), Gary Reitze (Intermediate Junior II, Denver, CO), Nancy Stechert (Intermediate Senior I, Hotchkiss, CO) and others. Deborah Bristow (Intermediate Junior III, Santa Fe, NM) drove seven hours from Santa Fe, NM for board meetings. 

The association published a newsletter, put together on its teachers’ home computers, and listed workshops throughout the region. (The number of workshops has greatly increased through the years!) The newsletter and website are now professionally maintained by Melody Madonna (Introductory II, Indian Hills, CO) and her husband Joe Hutchison, through their business, Full Scale Inc. 

IMIYA sponsored several “Yoga Days” with day-long classes taught by a variety of teachers, and brought Senior Teacher Laurie Blakeney to Denver for a weekend workshop. 

The association has also done charitable work, raising money for Guruji’s birthday and for local teachers in need. In one special event, members “Bent over Backwards,” performing backbends to raise money to help Linda Clark get a new prosthesis after she lost her leg. In another, the “Headstand-In,” members did Salamba Sirsasana at the back of a local healthfood store, collecting pledges for each minute they remained in the pose to help the son of another member. “Kids were openly fascinated,” a participant recalls, “and the adults looked on with some curiosity.” 

IMIYA waned around 2006 through general lack of interest. In the last couple of years, the association has worked hard on creating a new beginning, without a lot of success at first. Now, though, with a new board, a relaunched website, a newsletter, and lots of ideas, the re-invented IMIYA is hoping to make new strides in promoting Iyengar Yoga in its region. It welcomes volunteers who would like to help, and encourages those from around the region, not just in the Denver/Boulder area, to join. 

The new board was elected in February and includes President Kelly Moore (Introductory II, Denver, CO), Vice President Claudia Kuhns, Treasurer Susan Abernethy (a dedicated student from Denver, CO), Secretary Lisa Longton (a teacher working towards certification from Golden, CO), and Membership Chair Jonathon Dickstein from Boulder, CO, who is preparing for Introductory II assessment and recently relocated from the East Coast. 

Former board members and officers Leslie Bradley and Laura Allard Antelmi are acting as advisors as the board and the association re-establish themselves. 

As the Intermountain association comes full circle, with some of the original board members returning to join newer members willing to serve, there is a new energy and excitement, reflecting the central role the regional associations play in promoting Iyengar Yoga throughout the U.S. 

—Leslie Bradley